I’m heading to Eagle Beach, Aruba as the perfect base to access all the best the island has to offer easily and affordably.

All of Aruba’s beaches are free to the public.

Holiday Inn Resort Aruba – Beach Resort & Casino

Aruba can be one of the most expensive tropical destinations to visit, particularly because nearly all produce on the island must be imported, and luxury hotels can be expensive, especially along Palm Beach. But I’ve found you can do it for less if you choose to stay at Eagle Beach where most accommodations have been designed for timeshare or extended stays, so most have kitchenettes for cooking. It is also home to the largest supermarket complex on the island, Place of superfoods.

Eagle Beach is conveniently located right between all the action of Palm Beach and all the attractions of downtown Oranjestad. The public bus from Eagle Beach to both is fast, cheap and reliable, and all beaches on the island are free to the public. I like to go to the beach by bus and park my towel wherever I want, even in front of the most luxurious resorts, although the lounges and palapas are reserved for guests. While you may never want to leave Eagle Beach, there’s not much to do except enjoy the alabaster sands and turquoise waves.

I recommend a visit to Oranjestad for free and affordable hobbies. Explore the pedestrian-friendly city center on foot or via the free tram that starts at the cruise terminal. Keep your eyes peeled for places like the Pastechi house for what I think is the best local pastechi and cheap fresh fruit batidos or shakes. Go down to National Museum of Archeology for a free entrance, and detective a huge buffet at The kitchen where you only pay for what’s on your plate by weight.

For nightlife, there is plenty of free live entertainment. Alhambra Shopping Center and Casino off Eagle Beach always has live music, as does the Renaissance Market downtown, but Paseo Herencia Shopping Center off Palm Beach is my go-to outdoor spot for its free musical light and water shows and free cultural concerts. Also, I recommend picking up a free island guide at the airport to get discount coupons for various activities and shops.

Beyond the bus Taxis are inexpensive because they operate on a fixed rate network system, and there are many self-service bike stations throughout Aruba as well, great for exploring the two paved linear parks along the sea. But I recommend renting a car one day to explore the other side of Aruba like San Nicolas for its excellent outdoor art and Arikok Parka huge nature reserve.

Where to stay: Bubali happiness tucked away behind Superfood Plaza is an ultra-affordable collection of tiny apartments with full kitchens and backyard pools, just steps from Eagle Beach. Amsterdam Manor Beach Resortright across from Eagle Beach, is one of my favorite places to stay mid-priced – all suites have kitchenettes and it’s also walking distance to the Superfood store.